Sunday, August 24, 2014

Green Army to tackle walking track improvements

TWO walking tracks in New Norfolk will be upgraded in the first round of the Federal Government's Green Army program. The Derwent Valley Council and Conservation Volunteers Australia will be funded to control weeds and improve the walking tracks along the River Derwent. They will also be involved in gravel and track surfacing and erosion control measures.

To be carried out in the second half of  2015, the project will revitalise the Derwent Cliffs Walk and the Millbrook Rise end of the Bicentennial Walking Track. Green Army participants will undertake weed and erosion control and walking track upgrades to protect remnant vegetation. This will ensure sensitive wetland areas are maintained and can continue to provide habitat for native bird species and platypus. Historic flour mill ruins at Tynwald House will be more visible due to weed removal and control.

The project will start at the entrance to New Norfolk at the Millbrook Rise boat ramp, continuing through bush and wetlands areas along the River Derwent following the existing walking track. It will then follow the cliff-top walk and descend the steps to the base of the cliffs. The entire area is under threat from numerous weeds including boneseed, broom, blackberries and karamu and there has been significant erosion to the Lachlan Rivulet area of the track caused by the build-up of willow and debris that will be removed.

Activities will include weed treatment, erosion control, debris removal and possible fencing and path widening activities. Track safety will be improved, remnant vegetation will have fewer weeds to contend with, and environmentally sensitive areas will be improved by weed removal. Visibility of the heritage listed area will be increased and erosion controlled. Participants will gain skills in workplace health and safety and the handling of chemicals as well as weed identification and eradication, track work, construction work and fencing. They will also gain basic computer skills.

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